Illinois Unemployment rate rose to 6.4 %.Adds 18,100 Jobs; Growth Rate Remains Significantly Below National Average

Illinois Unemployment rate rose to 6.4 %.Adds 18,100 Jobs; Growth Rate Remains Significantly Below National Average

Chicago – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that Illinois’ unemployment rate in February rose 0.1 percentage points to 6.4 percent and nonfarm payrolls increased by +18,100 jobs, based on preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and IDES. Nonfarm payrolls recovered from the 2007-2009 recession in February; however Illinois’ average job growth since employment recovery began in January 2010 remains well below the national average.

“Illinois remains one of only three states that have not recovered jobs lost from the 2001 recession,” IDES Director Jeff Mays said. “While Illinois grew in jobs it took us twice as long compared to the rest of the country. When determining the overall growth, it is also important to take into account the volatility of the monthly employment numbers.”

The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for February 2016, which held at 4.9 percent. The unemployment rate stood 0.4 percentage points above the unemployment rate a year ago when it was 6.0 percent. Illinois surpassed the January 2008 payroll peak by +1,300 jobs, but remains 61,300 jobs short of its peak employment level reached in September 2000 while the nation currently stands 3.7 percent above its prior peak level of employment.

“As improvements in the national economy motivate more people to seek employment, Illinois’ lagging job creation rate continues to be a cause for concern,” Illinois Department of Commerce Director Jim Schultz said. “We are not creating enough jobs, we continue to lose critical middle-class manufacturing jobs, and unemployment in Illinois continues to rise, keeping our state from achieving full economic recovery. Illinois needs structural reforms that will stimulate growth and create jobs for hardworking Illinois families.”

The number of unemployed workers increased +1.9 percent from the prior month to 420,300 and was up +8.7 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force grew by 1.8 percent in February over the prior year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

The unemployment rate is increasing in Illinois primarily because more workers are entering the labor force and are not immediately able to find work. In February, the two industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+6,600); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,500) and Leisure and Hospitality (+4,200). The two industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were: Construction (-2,400); and Education and Health Services (-2,000).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +65,700 jobs with the largest gains in Leisure and Hospitality (+21,100); Educational and Health Services (+17,800); and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+14,100). Industry sectors with over-the-year declines in February include: Manufacturing (-2,700) and Information (-1,700).

To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES’ maintains the state’s largest job search engine (IJL). IJL recently showed that 63,273 resumes were posted and 174,983 help-wanted ads were available.



Monthly 2011 – 2015 labor force data for Illinois, and all other states, have been revised as required by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The monthly historical revisions to state labor force estimates reflect new national benchmark controls, state working-age population controls, seasonal factors, as well as updated total nonfarm jobs and unemployment benefits claims inputs. Illinois labor force data were also smoothed to eliminate large monthly changes as a result of volatility in the monthly Census Population Survey (CPS) and national benchmarking. For these reasons, comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous state news releases/materials might no longer be valid.
Monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Illinois and the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division are available here: Illinois & Chicago Metropolitan Area Unemployment Rates
Monthly 1994 – 2014 unadjusted and seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll data for Illinois have been revised. To control for potential survey error, the estimates are benchmarked annually to universal counts derived primarily from unemployment insurance tax reports.
Not seasonally adjusted jobs data with industry detail are available at Not Seasonally Adjusted Jobs Data. “Other Services” include activities in three broad categories: Personal and laundry; repair and maintenance; and religious, grant making, civic and professional organizations. Seasonally adjusted employment data for subsectors within industries are not available.


About IDES – IDES encourages employment by connecting employers to jobseekers, provides unemployment insurance benefits to eligible individuals, produces labor market data and protects taxpayers from unemployment insurance fraud. Visit the Department’s website at for more information and join IDES on Facebook.


EPA/Justin Lane

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